One novel solution was the Lustron Home. These were made by the Lustron Corporation in Columbus, Ohio for 1948 to 1950. Prefabricated entirely of steel with exteriors that were baked-on glass, they came in eight models. The plan was to manufacture them in the tens of thousands, but only about 2680 were actually produced before the company went bankrupt in 1950.
What went wrong? Their main selling point was they were easy to maintain, but that meant they were difficult to update. They couldn’t be repainted, and altering the exterior would cause the glass coating to shatter. There were some distribution and zoning problems, and some suggest opposition from the housing industry to such a radical idea also contributed to the failure. Only an estimated 1500 of these houses survive today.
But these novel dwellings do have a following. A recent book, Lustron Stories by Charles Mintz and Shannon Thomas Perich, joins an earlier work, The Lustron Home: The History of a Postwar Prefabricated Housing Experiment by Thomas T. Fetters and Vincent Kohler (2006), to provide a good historical record.
Our free-market economy enables anyone with a good idea to come forward. Not all good ideas succeed; this is one that didn’t. But it’s still fascinating to contemplate.
For more on Lustron Homes, there is an excellent introductory article at http://www.ohio.com/lifestyle/home-news/lustron-stories-explores-quirky-metal-homes-and-their-devoted-owners-1.715796. And of course, there is Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lustron_house.
The photo came from Google Images.